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Presentation of the 2011 Vanier Medal

Rideau Hall, Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Good morning and welcome to Rideau Hall.

Each year, the Institute of Public Administration of Canada awards the Vanier Medal to one Canadian who has been an exemplary example of public service. And there is no doubt that David Dodge is the embodiment of service.

During his storied career, David has been a calm voice in the otherwise volatile world of economics.

His role at Finance Canada and as governor of the Bank of Canada allowed him to help chart the financial course of this country, often during challenging times.

And even after his retirement from the Bank of Canada, he has been sought after for his insight and counsel.

He has also been an outspoken advocate for our public service and the work that they do each day for Canadians across the country.

Their roles are vital to this country. Public servants play an essential part in maintaining our way of life and our standard of living.

They work together towards a common cause and create a better Canada because of their efforts.

And for many years, David was an integral part of that. He was, and still is, in great demand for his knowledge.

In fact, when I was president of the University of Waterloo, we were just one of many institutions that tried to lure David to lend us his skills.

And we were one of the many who were disappointed when he turned us down. But he has always created his own opportunities, and no matter where he has gone, he has earned our respect.

Speaking as a former educator, I am pleased to see David returning to his roots at Queen’s University as its chancellor. He began his career as a professor there, and I know that he has much wisdom to pass on to a new generation of economists and public servants about how to build a better country.

David once said during an interview that “The foundation of a good public policy is really an open dialogue and open debate.”

It is my hope that we will take these words to heart, because when our minds are open to new ideas, when we use dialogue and innovation to shape our nation, we are building a Canada of which we can all be proud.

Throughout his career, David has held true to his ideals and has engendered trust wherever he has gone.

Today, we honour this man with a medal given in the name of the Right Honourable Georges P. Vanier, whose legacy has left us with the knowledge that we are not only privileged to live in such a great nation, but that we also have the responsibility to work to improve our well-being for subsequent generations.

This is what public servants do; this is what each winner of the Vanier Medal has done; and this is what David continues to do every day. And so it is with great pleasure that we present the 2011 Vanier Medal to David Dodge.

Thank you.